A day after slamming Donald Trump, who is apparently considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, as a liberal for supporting nationalized health care and bad trade policies (obviously, he played down the criticism), the Club for Growth hit the real estate mogul and host of The Apprentice for abuse of eminent domain – the taking of private property by government for what was intended to be public use:
“First we find out Donald Trump is a liberal on taxes, health care, and trade. Now we find out he’s an abuser of eminent domain. Eminent domain abuse is an assault on freedom, pure and simple” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “No real conservative would ever use eminent domain in order to take the private property of citizens. I’m shocked and appalled by these revelations. Club members and conservatives ought to know where Donald Trump stands on the issues.”
In 1997, Trump tried to evict an elderly widow to expand an Atlantic City casino: Vera Coking agreed to drop her lawsuit against Donald Trump yesterday and accepted a settlement of $90,000 from Trump’s demolition contractor for damage to the rooming house she has long refused to sell. The settlement does not affect the longstanding battle over ownership of Coking’s house on South Columbia Place, a block from Trump Plaza. Coking is still fighting a court battle to keep her home in the face of a state eminent domain action to assist Trump with the expansion of his casino. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/19/97)
Trump would have used the land to build a “limousine waiting area”: Superior Court Judge Richard Williams said the state’s plan to seize the parcels for an expansion of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was flawed because it set no limits on what Mr. Trump could do once he obtained the land. Mr. Trump had said the land would be used for a park, a parking lot and a limousine waiting area. (New York Times, 7/26/98)
Trump on pro-eminent domain Supreme Court case Kelo v. New London: “I happen to agree with it 100 percent”: CAVUTO: You know, the one thing that sticks in the craw of a lot of people with this court, Donald — and I don’t know where you come down on it, but this eminent domain issue that essentially allowed someone’s home to be bulldozed, as was the case in New London, Connecticut, if it gets in the way of developers. Now, you’re a pretty successful developer in your own right. What did you think of that decision? Was the court overdoing it with that decision? TRUMP: Well, it’s sort of not a good one for me to say, because I noticed every article written about it said, “Will Donald Trump take over your home?” sort of using me as the example, Neil. And it’s sort of — it’s an interesting situation to be in. But I happen to agree with it 100 percent, not that I would want to use it. But the fact is, if you have a person living in an area that’s not even necessarily a good area, and government, whether it’s local or whatever, government wants to build a tremendous economic development, where a lot of people are going to be put to work and make area that’s not good into a good area, and move the person that’s living there into a better place — now, I know it might not be their choice — but move the person to a better place and yet create thousands upon thousands of jobs and beautification and lots of other things, I think it happens to be good. (Fox News, 7/19/05)
In 1994, Trump proposed using eminent domain to purchase land in Bridgeport, CT to build an amusement park: The city currently owns Pleasure Beach, which makes up about 40 percent of the 100 acres. The remaining 60 percent is privately owned. Under the Trump proposal, the city would acquire the private land through eminent domain and then convey it to Mr. Trump. The Trump organization and the city’s Parks Board would enter into a long-term lease for the Pleasure Beach area. (New York Times, 6/3/94)
The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public policy law firm, acknowledged their role in defending one property owner against the land-grabber, Donald Trump, after the Club for Growth sent out the press release:
Vera Coking, an elderly widow from Atlantic City, knows firsthand the power of unaccountable government agencies. The Institute for Justice successfully defended Vera against the condemnation of her home by a State agency that sought to take her property and transfer it—at a bargain-basement price—to another private individual: Donald Trump. Trump convinced the State agency to use its “eminent domain” power to take Vera’s home so he could construct a limousine parking lot for his customers—hardly a public purpose. And unfortunately, cases in which government agencies act not as protectors of constitutionally guaranteed rights, but instead as agents for powerful, private interests, have become all too common.
Thanks to IJ’s advocacy, Vera Coking won in court and continues to enjoy her home of more than three decades.
Trump is getting some help though. Tax Hike Mike Huckabee, who recently met with Trump and shares many of the misguided populist polices – such as tax hikes and protectionism, has come to his defense by slamming the Club:
Huckabee, the former presidential candidate and current Fox News host who has said he is thinking about running another campaign, said he remembers when the organization made similar attacks against him in 2008.
“According to that group, I’m also a tax-loving socialist. During the 2008 election they cherry-picked some factoids out of context from the deals I had to make from a ninety percent Democratic Arkansas legislature,” Huckabee said in his daily radio commentary.
Huckabee also criticized the organization for being so focused on cutting taxes.
“I never understood when it became a mark of conservatism to run up debt on your children’s credit card instead of biting the bullet and paying your own bills,” Huckabee said.
Yes, the Club for Growth supports tax cuts. I don’t think they’ll apologize for that. However, they have also pushed for significant cuts in spending to get the deficit under control. Hucakbee, who was a target of the group during the 2008 GOP presidential primary, knows this.
Since he says we should do research….for the record, Tax Hike Mike is a tax-loving socialist that allowed a net tax hike of $500 million while Governor of Arkansas; including taxes on hospital beds and higher sales taxes and he raised taxes more than Bill Clinton.
As Brad Warbiany said on Twitter, “Trump is for a trade war, [government] intervention to steal energy, and pro-Kelo. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you corporatism embodied.” Yep. The record speaks for itself. Tax Hike Mike can’t defend that; no one can.